(Image: provided). Technical images of the Ubi computer.
(Image: provided). Technical images of the Ubi computer.

Published: September 16th, 2013

Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation (UCIC), maker of an always-on, voice-activated computer called the Ubi, has just landed $100,000 of investment in a competition for startups in Northumberland, Ont.

On Monday, Spark Centre and the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) named their winner of the N100, a competition that pitted 34 startups against each other. Spark Centre is the local regional innovation centre, while the Northumberland CFDC is a non-profit organization working to boost Northumberland’s local economy.

The contest, which took place over several months, involved an application process, a round of pitching in front of Northumberland CFDC’s investment committee, mentoring and coaching, and a final presentation to the CDFC. And as the winner, UCIC finished up the contest by negotiating with the CFDC on its private equity agreement. The company is also currently in a fundraising round.

Leor Grebler, co-founder of UCIC, said the UCIC team plans on using its prize money to get the Ubi shipped out to the world more quickly. He’s also eager to capitalize on the advice he’s received from mentors and coaches from CFDC and Spark Centre.

“What we’re looking to do is really accelerate the development of the Ubi,” he said. “What this is going to help us do is to get out to market, really fine-tune the Ubi, and really make a splash when we are able to start shipping the device.”

He added as the winner of the N100 competition, UCIC will be setting up a satellite office for some of its marketing and customer support staff in Northumberland, Ont., about an hour and a half outside of Toronto.

UCIC made a name for itself back in September 2012, when it raised about $230,000 for its project on Kickstarter, despite only having a goal of $36,000.

“We’re delighted,” Grebler said. “We always go in with very low expectations. I mean, we were very surprised by the Kickstarter campaign. We knew the worst-case scenario would be that we’d be able to practice our business plan writing and our pitching. But of course whenever we go into these types of competitions, we aim to succeed at that.”

While UCIC has already shipped its beta units of the Ubi computer, it is now moving onto shipping full orders. The company plans to begin moving those units in November.

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